Thursday, October 06, 2005

Latest Bissette Books now on the Shelves...

Shameless hucksterism redux, and a quick update on my work now in bookshops, magazine racks, and/or available online:

* I landed the cover story on the latest issue of Video Watchdog -- #122, October/November 2005 -- with my writeup of the extraordinary and sadly ignored DVD release of Edison's Frankenstein from the late Alois F. Dettlaff, Sr. See my September post on the subject on this blog, but better yet pick up this issue of Video Watchdog, featuring Charlie Largent's customized color cover portrait of Charles Ogle as the first cinematic Frankenstein's Monster. Per usual, the issue is jam-packed with great articles, primary (and essential) among those Steven Lloyd's overview of the Warner Bros. DVD Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 1 (lots of great info and insights here), Bill Cooke's analysis of the new Criterion Cronenberg Videodrome, the debut of Ramsey Campbell to the VW pages with his review of Tony Earnshaw's excellent Beating the Devil: The Making of Night of the Demon, and much more.

* I have two essays on hitchhiking in the new UK book No Such Thing as a Free Ride?: A Collection of Hitchers' Tales edited by Simon Sykes and Tom Sykes (Cassell Illustrated, 2005). This highly entertaining read features a remarkably eclectic pantheon of authors (Mike Leigh, Eric Burdon, Alan Parker, Alastair Campbell, Ralph Bakshi, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Rick Wakeman, Nigel West, Tony Hawks, etc.) recalling their hitchhiking experiences, good and bad; man, I may never be published in such stellar company again! Yours truly is among both the "Good Trips and "Bad Trips" chapters, both dating from the 1970s (as I have neither hitched nor picked up hitchhikers since, the reasons for which my respective entries will fully explain).

* Well, I am amid a pretty amazing lineup in another UK-packaged (but US published) book, as luck has had it. As already recently noted on this blog, I am also among the contributing writers to Stephen Jones and Kim Newman's Horror: Another 100 Best Books (Carroll & Graf, 2005), now in US bookshops and available online. Lest any of you think I'm harboring a grudge against former chum Alan Moore, please note that my nomination for the top-100 horror novels of all time that was accepted by Jones and Newman was none other than Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's extraordinary masterpiece From Hell; Alan may have nothing more to do with me in this lifetime by his own choice, and that's a source of personal pain, but I've no professional axe to grind with the man. He's a fucking amazing writer, and Eddie's stunning decade+ collaborative effort with Alan stands tall as both a genre work and a sui generis masterwork. The essay herein sums up my feelings about From Hell, and it's gratifying to see Tim Lucas's similarly Taboo-spawned novel Throat Sprockets (1986) in this lineup, too.

* Speaking of Alan Moore, a couple of years ago I donated an essay entitled "Mr. Moore and Me" to the multi-national benefit book project Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman, a UK/Italian production that has been published in English, Italian, and Spanish editions to date. With my permission, French editor Andre-Francois Ruaud just published a slightly-abridged French language translation of that essay in his new book Alan Moore: L'hypothese du Lezard: Suivi de Essais, Hommages, Appreciations & Entretiens (Les Moutons Electriques, 2005). I'm in good company once again -- Michael Moorcock, Eddie Campbell, Paul Di Fillipo, Jean-Paul Jennequin, etc. -- and for that I'm thankful. (BTW, an expanded, definitive revision of "Mr. Moore and Me" will be published in 2006 in an upcoming collection of my comics-related articles and essays, forthcoming from Black Coat Press.)

* That old chestnut "The Anatomy Lesson", the first collaborative effort of your truly, Alan Moore, John Totleben and Rick Veitch originally published way back in 1983 as Saga of the Swamp Thing #21, is back in print in the new DC/Vertigo trade paperback anthology Vertigo: First Taste (DC Comics, 2005), subtitled Six Premiere Issues from Comics' Most Provocative Imprint. Once again, my work's shoulder-to-shoulder with some amazing companions: reprints of the first issues of Y: The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Transmetropolitan, Books of Magick: Life During Wartime, and Death: The High Cost of Living. Nice collection, but the first true Vertigo debut issues -- of Sandman and Hellblazer -- are conspicuous by their absence; nothing has been more reprinted than our own "The Anatomy Lesson," so I'm curious about the decision to exclude the born-at-the-hips twins who truly launched the Vertigo imprint.

* I have a never-before-published full-page color portrait of "The Pigman of Devil's Washbowl" (of Northfield, VT) on page 99 of my dear friend Joseph A. Citro's latest book, Weird New England (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2005; an imprint of Barnes & Noble). But that's not all! My beloved wife Marj and I wave from our rolling-uphill car on page 168 (yep, that's my Toyota). My name would have also appeared on page 194, had the editors of the series not seen fit to remove all Joe's references to his traveling compadres and supplant them with the anonymous "Weird New England team" references (a move Joe heartily disapproved of, I might add); Joe and I visited the Hoosac Tunnel last spring one memorable muddy morning, and Joe's photos from that trip grace the volume. Taboo and UFO/alien abduction comics completists take note: there's also a panel (reprinted on page 82) from Jack Weiner's CGI-art for the one-shot alien abduction graphic novella The Allagash Incident by Jack Weiner and Chuck Rak (Tundra, 1992). This remarkable and sadly overlooked comic was originally commissioned by yours truly for publication in what would have been Taboo Vol. 8; when relations between SpiderBaby Grafix and Tundra badly soured early in 1992 (a year before Tundra's collapse), I stepped aside to ensure Jack and Chuck's work would see print in a timely manner under the Tundra imprint before the shit I saw heading for the fan really hit the blades. Alas, this remarkable project -- the only UFO comic written and drawn by the participants in a classic UFO case/encounter, who happened to be accomplished artists and cartoonists in their own right -- was shuffled out the door sans any promotion or support, ignored by the market, and marketed not at all to the UFO marketplace that would have embraced it. UFOlogist Raymond E. Fowler scribed the definitive case history text on this abduction/encounter, The Allagash Abductions: Undeniable Evidence of Alien Intervention (Wild Flower Press, 1993), also recommended reading. More on this in a later blog posting, but for now, just run out and pick up a copy of Joe's Weird New England -- it's not entirely the book Joe envisioned, but it's still a real beauty!

* One of my dinosaur drawings (a modest colored pencil portrait of a Tyrannosaurus rex) graces the cover of Rivers of Time, a screenplay by Roy Thomas adapted from the book by L. Sprague de Camp (Black Coat Press, 2005). Roy's screenplay adapts and expands upon de Camp's classic 1956 short story "A Gun for Dinosaur" and his subsequent time-travel tales, and it's a lively read. It would make a great film, too -- hint, hint -- but for now, Black Coat Press's lovely package is your best shot for unreeling on your internal retinal screen the feature Thomas has conceived.